Monday, April 15, 2013

Superpowers 101: Finding Time To Read

I love books. I honestly have kind of a hoarding/addiction type attachment for books, especially really beautiful children's picture books. I can NOT pass a Jan Brett book without buying it! (That is why I never go to books stores!)

My quirky vices aside, reading is very powerful to me. I love to finish a book and feel as if I have said goodbye to dear friends. I love that urge I feel to tell my husband about the exciting twist I just read when he asks if anything interesting happened that day. I love the combination of words to form patterns and rhythms that can lull me to sleep at night or create a kind of literary symphony.

Since early childhood I have also loved writing. It is like a fantastic word puzzle that only a select few can solve!

Every author who is asked about the craft gives the same advice to potential writers: READ!

So that is what I started doing.

Not just reading for fun (although I do enjoy it!) but reading to educate myself. For example, if I was reading Harry Potter I might look at the way J.K. Rowling uses point of view to keep the reader in the dark about certain mysteries. If I am reading a book that I don't like, I ask why. Is it the wording? The Characters? The story itself? All this helps me learn the good and bad of writing.

Between simple pleasure and learning a useful skill, I feel compelled to read. Well, now I do. For many years I barely read anything. For one thing, I didn't know what to read. I needed to find a genre that appealed to me. Once I did, I had to make reading a priority.

The first step was reading to my children. I started reading to them at nap time until they fell asleep. I sometimes read kids books but I usually read whatever I wanted to read. The kids would be asleep in a matter of minutes. Sometimes I would keep reading to myself for a little while. Reading aloud had many unexpected benefits for me.

As I began to read more, I started finding other ways to steal a few minutes of reading.
  • I read while I waited for the water to boil or the brownies to bake at dinner time.
  • I take the book to the bathroom  (honestly the only moments of semi-privacy I get some days!).
  • I read for a few minutes at night before going to sleep. 
  • I wake the kids in the mornings then read while they eat and get dressed for the day.
  • I used to read while I waited for the bus in the afternoons (when I had to drive to the bus stop).
  • I take a book with me to all appointments.
  • I bring a book with me to youth activities at church. (I wait while the kids participate)
  • I like listening to Audio books while I clean, especially a really indepth job. It helps the work go faster!

There are unused minutes in every day. Once you get into a book, one that is hard to put down, you will discover time you never knew you had!

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